Speaking Thursday before an appearance at the University of Connecticut, his alma mater, Allen said he doesn’t want to have to sit out a season this late in his career, but believes the issues are important to the future of the game.
“Nobody wants to miss a year,” he said. “But I’m prepared to do what the team needs me to do, what my players association, players union team, what they need me to do, because we want to make sure we get the right deal for us.”
Allen is entering what would be his 16th NBA season with 22,286 points, 24th in league history. Last season, he set the NBA record for 3-point field goals in a career with 2,612.
He said he’s not considering retirement and has been working out with members of the UConn basketball team.
“I always, typically, come up here in September anyway,” he said. “But obviously, due to not being able to work out in my gym, this is my gym of choice.”
“Being around the young guys, they push me physically and mentally,” he added. “So, I look forward to being up here and trying to be up here as much as I can.”
Allen said the idea that Connecticut could leave the Big East Conference is a hard pill for him to swallow, but believes the school needs to do what it must to ensure it continues to have one of the nation’s top basketball programs. The Connecticut men have won three national championships, the women have won seven.
“We have to stay on par with the other schools around the country, because we do feel like we’re the standard by which college basketball should be measured — men and women’s basketball,” he said. “So however we need to do it to stay on top of that. Because we need to continue to get the players to keep this university going and moving in the right direction and win the championship.”
He also said he would love seeing Connecticut in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where it could play Duke twice a year.
“They are another program that shares the same tradition, the same legacy of basketball, great players having come through and having a Hall of Fame coach at the helm,” he said. “It only raises or heightens the awareness, the traditions of college basketball. And, you know you’ve got North Carolina in the conference, so that creates some devastating, scary matchups.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)